(April 30)

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Mt 25: 1-13)

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which is the main theme of Holy and Great Tuesday, ten virgins are given ONE simple job, – to accompany the bridegroom into the wedding with lighted oil lamps, whenever he arrives. But five of the ten virgins were so indifferent to their little job, that they did not bother to fill their lamps with oil. Perhaps they thought it was unimportant, or that they did not really matter, – or maybe they were generally depressed, and trapped in feelings of uselessness and self-pity, along the lines of – “I don’t matter anyway, I’m just a foolish little virgin and nobody takes me seriously… These wise virgins are the ones that matter, so they will take care of me and my oil-situation when the time comes…”

So, in the main hymn of the Bridegroom-service of Great Week, (Behold, the Bridegroom is coming at midnight…) we are warned not to be like this complacent bunch. Because we do matter, and we have been invited, – however little or unimportant our assigned job at the “wedding” may seem to us.

Let me take my little vocation seriously today, and not slip into feelings of uselessness and self-pity, as if “others” are wiser and better and can cover for me with their “oil.” My Lord has invited me, with my own little lamp, which it’s my job to fill with His kind of “fuel.” My “lamp” is my heart, for which I am to care every day, letting Him in and “trimming” from it anything that hinders His light from shining forth through me. Come and abide in us, Lord, and let me enter the banquet of this beautiful Tuesday with You, as I do the one, simple job You have given me.